Yahoo Offers Refunds Or DRM-Free Music In Exchange For Shutting Down DRM Servers

from the that's-better dept

We were a bit surprised last week when Yahoo decided to shut down its DRM servers, rendering all sorts of "purchased" music close to worthless. After all, when Microsoft had done the same thing, public outcry forced Microsoft to keep the servers running for a few more years. Now Yahoo has leapfrogged that decision, promising either refunds or a replacement DRM-free version of tracks that you downloaded via its service. This may turn out to be expensive for Yahoo, but that's what the company gets for agreeing to a DRM'd solution in the first place, rather than trusting its instincts and telling the labels to ditch the DRM years ago.

What's more interesting about this is that retailers may need to start matching this offer. In other words, people are now (reasonably) expecting retailers to "future proof" their music, so that they don't have to buy the same songs over and over again. If people are buying music, they expect to be able to continue to use that music no matter how the technology changes -- and they're pushing to make sure that happens. Yahoo's decision to now make its music (even as its shutting down the music service) future proof should make the recording industry realize that the days of getting consumers to rebuy all their music every time there's a format shift are long gone.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 6:22am

    If the songs were a nickel each, no one would care that the DRM server went away. If they're a buck, people are going to get royally POed when they get robbed. I suspect there's more profit in the first model than the second, provided there were a way I could actually pay five cents for something. Micro-payments is the key missing link on the internet, and I can't understand why it hasn't been done a hundred times.

     

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  2.  
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    JB, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 6:48am

    Format Change

    I need someone to "future proof" the peach crate full of vinyl albums I have sitting in my basement.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Ed, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 6:53am

    Format Shifting

    That was a nice trap...fortunately, direct cd to .mp3 has been good. Thanks to the .mp3 programmers!!!!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 6:53am

    I would be quite PO'd if I was told I had to repurchase the 1500+ songs in my library, even if it was only a nickel each. Do the math .05 x 1500 = $75 It may not be anywhere near what I originally paid for the albums, tapes, and cd's, but why would I be willing to pay another $75 to keep listening to music that I have already paid for?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Ben, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:02am

    re: Format Change

    Unfortunately JB the media hasn't changed, just how they protect it. It's a big difference from your stupid vinyl. Your records will still play on a record player provided you keep them in good condition, so my music should still play on my computer, provided I don't delete them. Right? Doesn't that make sense?

    And how does this encourage people to buy legal music? I'd much rather download free music illegally and never have to worry about this bullshit.

     

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  6.  
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    Dave, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    Re: Format Change

    There are a number of USB turntables out there that will rip albums to your computer. You can then burn them to your favourite media.

    Problem solved. Legally. Now how do I do that with my DRM'd downloads?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    matt, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:10am

    never got this

    why people "repurchase" the same things on different media. If I have it on tape, I don't have it on DVD, and if I have the DVD, I'm not gonna buy the Blu Ray. I'll keep up with the technology and buy current movies in the current formats, but I never did understand people rushing out to replace their collections with the newest format.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    re: JB's post

    JB if I were you I wouldn't want anyone to touch my vinyl, they would want to convert it to the shit format that is mp3. Anyone that doesn't know why I say mp3 is shit should read this article... http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/17777619/the_death_of_high_fidelity

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    SP, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    Ah. But your peach crate of albums won't stop working simply because some company flips a switch. As long as you can find a record player you can listen to them. Completely different issue

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    tommi, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:41am

    DRM rip off

    as a past (and probably future) legal music buyer, I was more than a little ticked at the thought of having to re-purchase all the music i have bought from yahoo's service in the past few years. there have been several times i have already had to repurchase this music(replaced a computer once, yahoo screwed up my account during an upgrade once & its really a pain to "stay legal" re-syncing my player every few days, etc....
    i wish someone would make it easy to keep the stuff i already bought and put it on my cd's, update my mp3 player and enjoy the streaming subscriptions too. I am guessing raphasody will be just as much as a PITA, but i don't want to buy hard copies from the music stores, (dont like having to buy whole cd's just to get one song) and i don't want to download illegally either.
    would someone give me a viable option?

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Format Change

    There is a program called "Sound Taxi". If the song can be played on that PC than this program can turn it into a DRM free MP3, AAC, or even WAV. It costs $35, I don't know if there is a free program out there that douse the same.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:45am

    "and i don't want to download illegally either."

    Why not? By choosing to abide by the recording industry's terms, you help perpetuate a system that does not bring value to the market anynmore. The only value they ever brought was marketing and distribution - the internet does that now, better and much cheaper.

     

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  13.  
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    Jim, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:59am

    Re: DRM rip off

    Tell your congress critters to make it legal to download music?

    The more people that voice their opinions to their elected representatives the faster our laws will get changed to something more reasonable.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Travis, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: DRM rip off

    False. The laws get changed by the people with the most money to give the politicians.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Bill G, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Did hell freeze over or something? Offering a refund or DRM free versions. Huh who would have thought that DRM would suck.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Peter Thomas, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Format Change

    iTunes for Windows (or Apple Mac) does MP3 encoding for free. With an internet connection, it'll find the correct track names from a CD.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Wolfgang, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    But imagine what fraction of a cent the artists would get, I think that's the biggest reason that the songs are usually a dollar. DRM is flawed since it relys on servers that could go down at anytime and unless there are countless failsafes you could end up with useless music too easily, I like that there are services that attempted to switch to DRM free, iTunes comes to mind, but it has been too little too late, plus iTunes charges 30 cents to upgrade to DRM free songs. I hate DRM and think it's wrong, but I have to put up with it since I'm a couple hundred dollars bought into iTunes since I refuse to illegally download and have indie artists that I like not get paid for their work since I like to be paid for my work too.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    nycebo, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re: as if

    Go ahead and keep listening to your music on tape then.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    nycebo, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 10:26am

    Re: re: Format Change

    very good point.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    nycebo, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Re: DRM rip off

    Just buy it from Amazon and your problems are solved. No DRM. High bitrate.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    tracker1, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    Re: never got this

    Honestly, when it makes sense, I'll do some of my content in the newer format... VHS to DVD is a colossal savings in space... a full season of a TV series in DVD takes less space than two VHS tapes. When you have a few series in VHS it can take a ton of shelf space... going DVD frees several shelves... Tape to CD you got a bit better quality. DVD to Blueray, I don't see the point for most things. CD to other formats is pretty quick and easy now, so often times might as well not re-buy them.

    In 1998 you had to have a pretty fast computer to be able to rip/convert cd's, and you often got skips etc, as it just wasn't so good. Now it's easy as anything.

    I think if someone were to offer a $50/month media service that included movies and music, people would go for it... Otherwise pricing will need to drop a bit, and be without DRM schemes, for long-term success. iTMS proved that digital distribution can work... now it's time to realize that DRM-free is cheaper, easier, and more effective in the long term.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    some not-so-old guy, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 10:56am

    Re: never got this - by matt

    I can see your point on it being useless to repurchase something on newer media, just for the sake of having it on newer media. However, there is a reason for getting new media of the same item -- age.

    Yes, vinyl keeps well if you don't scratch it or break it. However, VHS and audio tapes don't naturally keep well for very long. VHS in particular degrades over the years, no matter how well you keep it. (Which is why so many broadcasting stations were previously pissed off and went back to Beta [so I heard.])

    Personally, I have a collection of audio tapes that have simply lost their fidelity, and as such I repurchased them as CDs. I keep those CDs in good condition by archiving them and replaying the ripped content.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Freedom, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: never got this

    >> I think if someone were to offer a $50/month media service that included movies and music, people would go for it...

    I sure would. Who the heck wants to worry about managing a library, backing it up, and so on. Just provide me an online "all you can eat" type service and pay royatlies based on usage patterns.

    If you have cable or satellite than you probably have 100+ channels, do you watch them all, no, do you pay $50 to $150 a month, yep!

    Freedom

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Format Change

    If the song can be played on that PC than this program can turn it into a DRM free MP3, AAC, or even WAV
    I think he was asking how to do it LEGALLY. I think what you are describing would be illegal with DRM'd music.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Buzz, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Format Change

    Hm, I think format conversions are legal, actually. When you purchase a song online, you are essentially purchasing a license to that artistic creation; the format is technically irrelevant.

    I agree with artists being compensated for their work, but it blows me away that music vendors have the audacity to sell "privileges" of things customers are plenty able to do for themselves. That's like me selling a door but then telling people they cannot drill a hole in it without notifying me first; they aren't trying to sell it to someone else (not that it'd matter in this case since the door is not digital).

    If I pay for a song, I always rip it into a DRM-free format, but I don't share it with other people.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Joe Schmoe, Jul 29th, 2008 @ 8:47pm

    > iTunes for Windows (or Apple Mac) does MP3 encoding for free...

    Yes, but you still cannot just buy mp3's thru the iTunes store :(

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Snehasis, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 11:10pm

    DRM and Ripping

    I don't like DRM of any kind and here in India Moserbaer(world's 2nd largest optical disc manufacturer) is providing DRM(CSS)free movie DvDs,CDs at very cheap rate starting from Rs34(less than 1$).Moserbaer took this policy to stop piracy.I think this is a good solution to DRM,because the primary use of DRM is to fight piracy and protect the rights of the owner of the content.
    http://www.moserbaerhomevideo.com/

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    rodney, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Format Change

    a little program called noteburner.. can be got at that plus dot com

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    دردشه, Jul 8th, 2009 @ 6:15am

    Yes, but you still cannot just buy mp3's thru the iTunes store

     

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